8-year-old Salvador Ramos has been named by police as the gunman who shot dead 19 schoolchildren and two teachers in a Texas elementary school.
The killing spree was finally put to an end when Ramos, who was hiding behind a barricade, was shot and killed by a lone Border Patrol agent who rushed into the school without waiting for backup.
The agent was reportedly struck in the leg by either a bullet or shrapnel as they exchanged fire, according to a law enforcement official.
The motive behind the attack at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday is still not clear.
The Washington Post claimed that Ramos was “bullied” as a child, with one pupil saying his lisp made him a target, while others said he endured gay slurs and was made fun of because of his clothing.
A manager at a Wendy’s in Uvalde told The New York Times the Ramos worked there for a year and quit about a month ago.
He “went out of the way to keep by himself,” Mendez. The manager then pointed to two workers: “You know how my guys talk to each other and are friendly? He wasn’t like that. No one really knew him.”
Ramos is said to have burst through a side door of the school at 11.30am dressed head to toe in black and wearing body armour without a ballistic plate after crashing his car into a drainage ditch.
Before heading to the school, Ramos opened fire at his grandmother with two military-style rifles he purchased soon after his 18th birthday.
US President Joe Biden later said: “The idea that an 18-year-old kid can buy assault weapons is wrong.”
The grandmother was then airlifted to hospital and had survived the shooting, officials said, though an update on her condition had not been given.
Ramos had hinted on social media that an attack could be coming, according to state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who said he had been briefed by state police. He noted that the gunman “suggested the kids should watch out,” and that he had bought two “assault weapons” after turning 18.
The governor of Texas said Ramos had warned on social media minutes before the attack that he was going to shoot up a school.
Governor Greg Abbott said about 30 minutes before the shooting, Ramos made three social media posts. According to the governor, Ramos posted that he was going to shoot his grandmother, then that he had shot the woman, and finally that he was going to shoot an elementary school.
Abbott said Ramos, a resident of the community about 85 miles (135 kilometers) west of San Antonio, had no known criminal or mental health history.
Ramos legally brought two AR-style rifles just days before the attack, state senators briefed by law enforcement said.
One of the guns was purchased at a federally licensed dealer in the Uvalde area on May 17, according to senator John Whitmire. Ramos bought 375 rounds of ammunition the next day, then purchased the second rifle on May 20.
According to CNN, Ramos texted photos to a former classmate of a firearm and a bag full of ammunition days before the attack.
“He would message me here and there, and four days ago he sent me a picture of the AR he was using… and a backpack full of 5.56 rounds, probably like seven mags,” the former classmate said.
“I was like, ‘Bro, why do you have this?’ and he was like, ‘Don’t worry about it’,” the student said. “He proceeded to text me, ‘I look very different now. You wouldn’t recognise me’.”
Relatives of the injured say Ramos, who was born in South Dakota before moving to the predominantly Hispanic neighbourhood of Uvalde, shot several of the children in the arm and in the face.
Eyewitnesses said the gunman had driven his grey Ford truck into a ditch outside the school. When they approached to offer assistance, he shot at them.
Ramos on May 12 messaged a Los Angeles-based woman he knew on Instagram, tagging her in a photo of the guns.salv8dor_ messaged her and said: “I’m about to”.
The girl asked “about to what” to which he replied: “I’ll tell you before 11.”
He then sent her a chilling message “I got a lil secret I wanna tell u,” with a smiley face emoji covering its mouth.
“Be grateful I tagged you,” he wrote.
She replied: “No it’s just scary,” adding: “I barely know you and you tag me in a picture with some guns?”
His last message at 9:16am on Tuesday was “Ima air out” just two hours before the shooting started.
After the shooting the woman made their DM’s public, telling followers: “He’s a stranger I know nothing about him he decided to tag me in his gun post.
“I’m so sorry for the victims and their families I really don’t know what to say.”
She added: “The only reason I responded to him was because I was afraid of him I wish I stayed awake to at least try to convince him to not commit his crime. I didn’t know.”